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Battlecruiser Branch - a topic for discussion

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So, I was siting down at the computer this morning, and I got to thinking - there are only a few BC's represented in the game, and yet there are so many ships out there that are not yet represented in the game (either built, or on paper.)  Several ships (the Alaska among them) could be classed either as the CB (Large Cruisers) they entered service as, or as the BCs that they were designed.

The list of BCs that aren't in the game is lengthy, but not overly so:

For the UK -

Invincible class (3 ships) //  Indefatigable class (2 ships) //  Lion class (2 ships) // Queen Mary and Tiger classes (1 ship each) //  Renown class (2 ships) // Courageous class (2 ships, if WG is not planning on introducing them as CVs) // Furious class (already a CV, but could be added to the list as a BC because hey...who doesn't want to see 18 inch guns at the lower tiers, if just for the lulz...) // Hood class (4 ships, 1 built - already in game) // G3 1920 BC design (essentially an upgraded Hood)

For Germany

Von der Tann class (1 ship) // Moltke class (2 ships) // Seydlitz class (1 ship) // Derfflinger class (2 ships) // Hindenberg class (1 ship) // Mackensen class (4 ships, not built) // Ersatz Yorck class (3 ships, scrapped before completion) // O, P, and Q classes (number of ships unknown, paper designs)

For Japan - 

Kongo class (4 ships - A hull is the BC as built in game) // Amagi class (4 ships, 1 in game (Amagi), 1 not in game (Akagi), 2 not built) // Yard Nos. 795 and 796 (BC designs 1945 and 1946 - not built - obviously)

For the Motherland (Russia) -

Borodino class (4 ships, in game, represented by Izmail) // Kronshtadt class (2 ships) //  Stalingrad class (3 ships, in game).  A side note here...there is one other class of BCs that fall to Russia, but they are modern, and thus likely to never be included in game.  This would be the Kirov (now Admiral Ushakov) class - because who doesn't want to see a nuclear powered BC with anti-ship missles taking on an entire team of enemy warships in defense of the Rodina...)

For the US - 

Lexington class (6 ships, 1 in game as a CV) // Alaska class (6 ships, in game.  As mentioned above, these ships are designated as CB, but are classed as battlecruisers.)

For Australia - 

HMAS Australia (1 ship, New Zealand class)

For France - 

3 designs: GIlle, Durand-Viel A, and Durand-Viel B (3 ships, not built)

The Netherlands, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire also had BC designs on the books.  So as one can see, there are more than enough ships to flush out the lower and mid tiers with BCs.  It's something I would like to see as a possible future option for another line within the tech trees, but it remains to be seen if it will ever happen.

Until then, one can dream.  :)

 

Edited by dingodude
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I do appreciate the technical side of it, but I'm not sure if that list would include the other ships that WG was putting in the group of "super cruisers" - such as the Puerto Rico, Siegfriend, Agir & Stalingrad - am I missing any others?

It just occurred to me too that WG has the Graf Spee listed as a cruiser, and the Scharnhorst as a battleship, though I think technically they were both "pocket battleships" - right?

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1 hour ago, TheArc said:

It just occurred to me too that WG has the Graf Spee listed as a cruiser, and the Scharnhorst as a battleship, though I think technically they were both "pocket battleships" - right?

The Deutschland-class ships were referred to as “pocket battleships” at the time as British propaganda. They were slow-ish, heavily armed cruisers, and any proper battleship or battlecruiser would wipe the floor with them. It’s a completely meaningless term with no basis in fact.

The Scharnhorst-class ships were officially classified as battleships but were referred to by much of the British admiralty as “battlecruisers.” This was because the characteristics of the class (high speed, heavy armor, and an underpowered main battery compared to contemporary battleships) were much more in line with the characteristics of the battlecruisers of the previous generation of German capital ships of the Imperial German Navy than that of the proper battleships of the time (i.e. the dreadnoughts of the High Seas Fleet).

Edited by Nevermore135
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The BC's in game, such as PEF, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Dunkerque, Stasbourg,(To name a few), function just fine in the battleship branch. More, were they to create a BC branch and shift ships to it, they'd have to rework how BC's are implemented in the game, most of them would actually become much, much weaker, would be in essence cruisers,  another branch we already have. It wouldn't be worth it, and they'd become meaningless, they wouldn't be able to fight anything but each other effectively.

I'd like to see more battlecruisers in game, but I'd prefer they be worked into the battleship branch.

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Given that WG are moving away from low tiers, for instance not bothering with a T3 Italian battleship I can't see some of the low tiers being too attractive to them. 

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To be a battle cruiser, you sacrifice armor protection for speed.

Essentially its follows this doctrine:

1- You are fast enough to run down and catch anything too weak to resist you.

2-You are also fast enough to get away from anything big enough to seriously hurt you.

The game makes a few errors related to Pocket Battleships. But I don't worry about that. The history behind the various raiders and warships of the world in WW2 is fairly well covered. Most warships are sunk in a hour or less under big gun fire anyway or a few hours under sustained massed air attack when enough torps and bombs dispose of it.

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Very viable idea, this have been presented by a few other folks, but doesn't hurt to beat the drum... easy enough for WG to branch off existing CA branch or create new one... they are running out of ships, but this could be a whole year of new ships.

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9 minutes ago, xHeavy said:

To be a battle cruiser, you sacrifice armor protection for speed.

Not necessarily. This was the over-arching design philosophy of the British Navy (as well as the IJN which based their designs on the British). Up until the last “proper” battlecruiser ever built (HMS Hood), British battlecruisers were generally designed with similar armament to their dreadnought peers. The only other nation to construct proper CCs, Imperial Germany, opted for a more balanced approach in their designs. Their battlecruisers were much tougher than their British opponents, with armor in many ways comparable to German BBs of the era. To compensate for the extra weight and maintain the high speeds deemed necessary for the designs, these ships tended to mount less firepower than contemporary German dreadnoughts, either by housing fewer guns or guns of lower caliber.

Edited by Nevermore135

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21 minutes ago, TheKrimzonDemon said:

The BC's in game, such as PEF, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Dunkerque, Stasbourg,(To name a few), function just fine in the battleship branch. More, were they to create a BC branch and shift ships to it, they'd have to rework how BC's are implemented in the game, most of them would actually become much, much weaker, would be in essence cruisers,  another branch we already have. It wouldn't be worth it, and they'd become meaningless, they wouldn't be able to fight anything but each other effectively.

I'd like to see more battlecruisers in game, but I'd prefer they be worked into the battleship branch.

The catch with the battlecruisers and other ships that fit in that description is tiering them. In a separate BC tree or in the BB tree they are pretty much in the tier 4 - 7/8 range, the only way to get them above that range is to call them cruisers.. The other problem is only the British and the Germans built them in quantity.

 

16 minutes ago, xHeavy said:

To be a battle cruiser, you sacrifice armor protection for speed.

Essentially its follows this doctrine:

1- You are fast enough to run down and catch anything too weak to resist you.

2-You are also fast enough to get away from anything big enough to seriously hurt you.

The game makes a few errors related to Pocket Battleships. But I don't worry about that. The history behind the various raiders and warships of the world in WW2 is fairly well covered. Most warships are sunk in a hour or less under big gun fire anyway or a few hours under sustained massed air attack when enough torps and bombs dispose of it.

The British went with that method but the German BC's were well armored and still met both number 1 and number 2.

There were no Pocket Battleships, that was British propaganda. They were very much cruisers in everything except gun caliber.

Edited by BrushWolf
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On the argument of sacrificing armour for speed, let us look at the Renown and Repulse.

Built in 1916, they were the immediate predecessors to Hood.  Up to 6 inch belt, up to 2.5 inches over the deck, and anywhere from 9 to 7 inches on the turrets (depending on the face.  While the armour scheme was much improved over previous classes, yes - it still left much to be desired in areas where critical system protection was needed.  But for the time, they were considered the most heavily armoured of all the world's battlecruisers up to the launch of Hood.

There are other ships that could be considered as such - the Lutzow class "pocket battleships" being amongst them.  Puerto Rico could be considered a battlecruiser in extremis.  The main qualities would be speed over protection, and (in some cases, but not all) sacrifice of firepower.  In the case of the early British BCs (and Hood later), the protective scheme was simply not enough to offset either the accurate gunfire from, or the superior penetration of rounds that were fired at them by the enemy ships they were facing (although to be fair, the ships lost at Jutland were just as much a victim of poor ammunition handling procedures as they were hampered by their inferior armour layout.

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51 minutes ago, dingodude said:

On the argument of sacrificing armour for speed, let us look at the Renown and Repulse.

Built in 1916, they were the immediate predecessors to Hood.  Up to 6 inch belt, up to 2.5 inches over the deck, and anywhere from 9 to 7 inches on the turrets (depending on the face.  While the armour scheme was much improved over previous classes, yes - it still left much to be desired in areas where critical system protection was needed.  But for the time, they were considered the most heavily armoured of all the world's battlecruisers up to the launch of Hood.

Renown and Repulse were built with 6in belts, but their immediate predecessors - the Lions, Queen Mary and Tiger all had 9in belts abreast the machinery and were overall better armored.

The Renown's were a development of the original idea of the Invincible class battlecruisers, intended to have similar protection but higher speed and 15in guns. In the 1920's the Renown and Repulse were modernized with thicker belt armor - upgrading them to the 9in standard from barbette to barbette.

They weren't the most heavily armored British battlecruisers, let alone globally.

 

 

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They weren't the most heavily armored British battlecruisers, let alone globally.

In terms of overall armour layout and thickness protection, you are correct, and I stand corrected on that point. With reference to the weight of the armour per ship, I'm not exactly sure - I would have to do some digging.  I do know that both Renown and Repulse were seen as being too weak in the deck after the lessons learned at Jutland and both had approximately 504 tons of deck armour added in early to mid 1917, bringing the overall thickness up to the aforementioned 2.5 inches over magazines, machinery, and steering gear.

I don't have a lot of documentation here at the house on the protection weights of the earlier battlecruisers, but I do know that when Hood's legend was approved in August of 1916, the all-up weight of her armour was 10,600 tons.  By August of the next year, that weight had risen to 13,500 tons (or roughly 1/3 of the ship's weight at a load of 41,200 tons.)

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3 hours ago, TheArc said:

I do appreciate the technical side of it, but I'm not sure if that list would include the other ships that WG was putting in the group of "super cruisers" - such as the Puerto Rico, Siegfriend, Agir & Stalingrad - am I missing any others?

It just occurred to me too that WG has the Graf Spee listed as a cruiser, and the Scharnhorst as a battleship, though I think technically they were both "pocket battleships" - right?

Yes, Pocket Battleships. The reason, Germany wanted to have a modern navy and asked the League of Nations if they could build one. The League gave them a weight limit. Needless to say, Germany built and sailed a few to weight just for show, and then built Bismarck and Tirpitz exceeding the limits. LOL

Give Germany an inch, Germany took Poland, then Austria, Czechoslovakia, etc. 

Yeah, League of Nations. 

Okay, I sidetracked a bit. But yeah, I agree. A lot of ships there but it could take years to sort them all out and most of us could be dead waiting for the phone call. 

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4 hours ago, dingodude said:

So, I was siting down at the computer this morning, and I got to thinking - there are only a few BC's represented in the game,

incorrect, there are at least a couple of dozen, if we employ a broad categorisation, everything from Graf Spee and Hood, all the way to Stalingrad, hybrid warships that sit on the fence between battleship and cruiser are commonplace.

What we lack is a distinct MM category for battlecruisers, and a distinctly tech tree tier 8 to tier 10 "super"cruiser line (as either a split from a current cruiser tech tree, or a bb tech tree). Given that WOWS now contains 8 supercruisers representing 4 nations, more than a dozen battlecruisers at lower tiers, for some nations this split should be possible at tiers 5 (Kongo for example), or even as an entirely distinct tech tree with a new MM category, into which the likes of Alaska (*howls of NA server protest) and Scharnhorst (*howls of confusion from EU server) could be shunted.

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1 hour ago, dingodude said:

In terms of overall armour layout and thickness protection, you are correct, and I stand corrected on that point. With reference to the weight of the armour per ship, I'm not exactly sure - I would have to do some digging.  I do know that both Renown and Repulse were seen as being too weak in the deck after the lessons learned at Jutland and both had approximately 504 tons of deck armour added in early to mid 1917, bringing the overall thickness up to the aforementioned 2.5 inches over magazines, machinery, and steering gear.

I don't have a lot of documentation here at the house on the protection weights of the earlier battlecruisers, but I do know that when Hood's legend was approved in August of 1916, the all-up weight of her armour was 10,600 tons.  By August of the next year, that weight had risen to 13,500 tons (or roughly 1/3 of the ship's weight at a load of 41,200 tons.)

So circa 1917 Burt's British Battleships gives the following comparative table:

image.thumb.png.4691fa54bb07b7c2fbcba873962c352e.png

In this context the author uses armor to mean vertical (belt) and plating to mean horizontal (deck) protection. The Tiger is far ahead on the belt, and behind on the deck, but has a total of 7,050t of protection, Repulse has 5,740t. The older battlecruisers had also had deck armor added post Jutland, usually 200-400t.

As for scheme, if we look at post-Jutland Tiger you can see she has a lot of vertical protection, and has layered decks, max 1.5+1.5+1.5in. This is from Friedman's The British Battleship 1906-1945:

image.thumb.png.e3553dddd5b8582ef7976be89166bad5.png

I can't actually find a circa 1917 schematic for the Renown or Repulse. However, Freidman has one for Repulse after a refit in 1921, and Burt has one for Renown in 1926.

Repulse completed with the 6in belt where the 9in one is in the image below, but nothing above. Renown by 1926 had her 6in belt swapped with a 9in one and that belt moved up slightly as it was partially submerged, but no belt above added. She did have a thicker main deck installed at 2.5in.

The original 1917 configuration would be a 6in belt at the height of Repulse's on the left, and the 1in and 1.5in decks.

Zq998tf.png

Overall, protection is different over magazines, but not that substantially. Overall Tiger just had a lot more armor, and a lot more armored space is my conclusion. The Renown/Repulse circa 1917 were really tin-clads. 

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They release BCs mainly as premiums. Most premium BBs are BCs. There are a lot of BCs in the game already.  I am a CA/BC main.

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The Deutschland-class were 1930s Armored Cruisers effectively.  The precursor to the battle cruiser.  The United States and Japan had some battlecruiser with ten inch guns before the battlecruiser shifted things around.  The British and Germans had armored cruisers with 9+ inch guns in service, though most seemed to have 8 inch like later heavy cruiser.

 

The Deurtschlands were replacements for their old predreadnoughts/coastal defense ships retained after World War I.  

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I like the comparison of the Deutschland Class ships as “Armored Cruisers”. Pocket battleship was the historical term, but certainly they should not be confused with Battlecruisers.

The Battlecruiser was all about speed. While several posters mentioned the trade-offs between speed vs armor, it was really more of a 3-way equation for how you wanted to spend your weight: Speed / armor / firepower. Since Battleships took the Armor and Firepower as their mains, speed suffered, so often BBs and BCs were designed and ordered concurrently with the idea that the BCs scout ahead of the main fleets. The British chose their BCs to lean towards speed and firepower, while the Germans chose speed and armor.

Of interest here is the question: did the “Fast Battleship” descend from the Dreadnoughts or the Battlecruiser?

I believe as the Admiral Class (Hood) evolved it opened the door for the fast BB concepts.

For the OP - I would like to see the Dutch Battlecruiser (essentially a Scharnhorst) launch on the Euro line. HMS Tiger and KM Derfflinger would also be nice. And I believe there was a Soviet design that was also to use Scharnhorst 11” guns.

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14 minutes ago, SuperComm4 said:

Pocket battleship was the historical term, but certainly they should not be confused with Battlecruisers.

No, the historical term was “Panzerschiff,” literally “armored ship.” The “pocket battleship” was a term used by rivals (mainly the UK) for propaganda purposes, nothing else. The ships were not capital ships in any way, shape, or form, and the Kriegsmarine even officially re-classified the two surviving ships as heavy cruisers in 1940.

25 minutes ago, SuperComm4 said:

Of interest here is the question: did the “Fast Battleship” descend from the Dreadnoughts or the Battlecruiser?

I believe as the Admiral Class (Hood) evolved it opened the door for the fast BB concepts.

I’m of the opinion that the Treaty-era restrictions on tonnage combined with advancements in technology essentially brought the two classes together. The traditional designed role of the battlecruiser as a fleet scout was largely supplanted by aircraft, so the increase in speed of newer battleships of the 30s and 40s was largely driven by the desire for greater strategic and tactical flexibility. I’m not certain we would have seen fast battleships if advancements in propulsion and armor technology didn’t bypass the compromises that needed to be made when designing the battlecruisers of the early twentieth century. I’m also not certain how much Hood can really be considered a proper step in the design process towards a “fast battleship,” because her design was heavily modified on the slipway post-Jutland, and issues that arose from this (most notably her infamous seakeeping in rough seas) plagued her her entire life. It would have been interesting if any of her planned “sisters” had been built from the start with some of the design changes and how different they would have ended up being.

Also, it should be noted that at the time they were commissioned the Queen Elizabeths were the world’s premier “fast battleships,” so the term has always been somewhat relative.

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7 hours ago, Nevermore135 said:

Also, it should be noted that at the time they were commissioned the Queen Elizabeths were the world’s premier “fast battleships,” so the term has always been somewhat relative

all of the categorizations used during the period should be treated with some reserve or even skepticism, for they were employed for political, diplomatic  and of course propaganda purposes. The various designations, from Large Light Cruiser to Super Type A cruisers were designed to confuse purpose, attract political favour, dodge treaty constraints and so on. Even Stalingrad was only referred to as a "Heavy Cruiser" by the Soviets, yet we know full well, it was far more than a CA. Even on this forum past debates round the categorizations of these hybrid fence sitting cruiser/battleships, have been the opportunity for much semantic trolling.

Edited by hateboat

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Yesterday during the Dogger Bank stream, which was all about battlecruisers, I asked MrConway about a battlecruiser line split/new archtype to include the >203mm supercruisers at the high end and the WW1 classics in low tiers and the G3's and Lexingtons in the middle.

The official WG answer, direct from MrConway:  "Not worth it, nobody plays low tiers."

So that's that.

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6 minutes ago, Balon_Greyjoy said:

Yesterday during the Dogger Bank stream, which was all about battlecruisers, I asked MrConway about a battlecruiser line split/new archtype to include the >203mm supercruisers at the high end and the WW1 classics in low tiers and the G3's and Lexingtons in the middle.

The official WG answer, direct from MrConway:  "Not worth it, nobody plays low tiers."

So that's that.

Ah so that's why the USN BB line split happened at tier 8 and not down at tier 5 (lets be honest the Oklahoma COULD have been the tech tree tier 5, one of the many 12x356mm armed BBs at tier 6 and so on). Even WG have given up on tiers below 8 it seems...(well if you're gonna constantly have 4 CV games...yeah people aren't going to play that...you played yourselves).

Now as for my proposal on a British Battlecruiser line I would personally have them classify as Battleships and not cruisers. I would also put them at odds with their regular tech tree counterparts in terms of AP and HE and make them MUCH closer to the Warspite. This means they would have regular HE and very good AP pen (not shortfuse) with good accuracy and good speed for their tier but the trade off is weaker belt armor.

Going from tier 6 I would have the following.

Tier 6: Renown: 6 x 380mm.

Tier 7: Hood upgraded: There were planned upgrades for the Hood that, naturally, never got used. If push came to shove you COULD rename this the J3 but the J3 was 9 x 356mm guns IIRC. Unless you want to keep the trend of the tier 7 having smaller guns than the tier 6 in which case, go for it and have it be the J3.

Tier 8: G3: 9 x 406mm guns. However they would have the planned but never used super heavy AP shells designed for the Nelson giving her MUCH better AP pen at longer ranges.

file

Tier 9: I3 9 x 457mm guns. The layout is the same oddball layout the G3 has. Technically a later design but I feel the next ship has a more 'normal' Turret layout.

file

Tier 10: K3 9 x 457mm guns. Better layout on the turrets means that you get better firing angles. Would also be faster.

file

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40 minutes ago, Balon_Greyjoy said:

Yesterday during the Dogger Bank stream, which was all about battlecruisers, I asked MrConway about a battlecruiser line split/new archtype to include the >203mm supercruisers at the high end and the WW1 classics in low tiers and the G3's and Lexingtons in the middle.

The official WG answer, direct from MrConway:  "Not worth it, nobody plays low tiers."

So that's that.

And never mind that "nobody" plays low tiers because they set up so many missions and tasks to be tier V+, tier VIII+, or something.

Or that they allow multiple CVs per team against ships that they refuse to adjust the AA efficacy on.

Typical WG... set the game up to have an utterly predictable result, and then use that result as an excuse to not fix or add features.

 

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1 minute ago, Yandere_Roon said:

Ah so that's why the USN BB line split happened at tier 8 and not down at tier 5 (lets be honest the Oklahoma COULD have been the tech tree tier 5, one of the many 12x356mm armed BBs at tier 6 and so on). Even WG have given up on tiers below 8 it seems...(well if you're gonna constantly have 4 CV games...yeah people aren't going to play that...you played yourselves).

Now as for my proposal on a British Battlecruiser line I would personally have them classify as Battleships and not cruisers. I would also put them at odds with their regular tech tree counterparts in terms of AP and HE and make them MUCH closer to the Warspite. This means they would have regular HE and very good AP pen (not shortfuse) with good accuracy and good speed for their tier but the trade off is weaker belt armor.

Going from tier 6 I would have the following.

Tier 6: Renown: 6 x 380mm.

Tier 7: Hood upgraded: There were planned upgrades for the Hood that, naturally, never got used. If push came to shove you COULD rename this the J3 but the J3 was 9 x 356mm guns IIRC. Unless you want to keep the trend of the tier 7 having smaller guns than the tier 6 in which case, go for it and have it be the J3.

Tier 8: G3: 9 x 406mm guns. However they would have the planned but never used super heavy AP shells designed for the Nelson giving her MUCH better AP pen at longer ranges.

file

Tier 9: I3 9 x 457mm guns. The layout is the same oddball layout the G3 has. Technically a later design but I feel the next ship has a more 'normal' Turret layout.

file

Tier 10: K3 9 x 457mm guns. Better layout on the turrets means that you get better firing angles. Would also be faster.

file

All well and good if you're mainly interested in cancelled and fantasy ships, I suppose.

I was pushing for real ships that fought real battles, like the Invincibles, the Splendid cats, the Iron Dog, etc.

I just floated the idea of creating a fifth (or after subs sixth) archetype as a vehicle for distinguishing the 12" supercruisers from the basic 8" heavies, and secondarily creating a window for the G3's, Lexingtons, and Ersatz Yorcks etc.

We might see Renown some day as a one-off premium at Tier 6, but all hope is abandoned for the Golden Era battlecruisers.

image.png.0ad05db29f9f3e4ce260fde3e013a4ab.png

 

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